Putting the “demand” in video on demand
by Ernesto Leotta
- CANNES NEXT: The penultimate day of the NEXT sessions saw a roundtable being held to discuss demand creation and video on demand
The second-to-last day of NEXT's adventure at this year's Cannes Film Festival went on with a roundtable in the "I" Hall of the Palais, featuring four experienced personalities from the on-demand world. The panel was aimed at finding solutions and practical examples of new methods of demand creation at a historic moment when "everything that has been is being replaced by a digital model", as stated by moderator Michael Gubbins. The founder of Sampomedia and a skilled journalist, Gubbins has also been a keynote speaker and the organiser of several conferences around Europe, where he has always put his digital-change expertise at the listeners' disposal.
"Is theatrical still the first step for pushing a film, or is it weakening as time goes by?" he asked his fellow speakers, kick-starting an exciting debate.
"I come from distribution," answered Sam Toles, "and I've always seen producers using most of their money to push the theatrical release." Toles is the vice-president of content acquisitions and business development at Vimeo, and focuses on substantially expanding the content offerings and revenue growth for Vimeo On Demand. Vimeo is a high-quality video platform for creators and their audiences: its mission is to empower and inspire people around the world to create, share and discover videos. "I'm glad to be here at NEXT," continued the VP, "as I believe festivals like this play a key role in tearing down the whole antiquated mentality, which is our sole intention. Our culture is about curation and discovery, and Vimeo also has a platform for content creation. It is thus a place for anyone who wishes to share his or her art and monetise: we provide them with the tool to reach their audience."
Subsequently, a Q&A session with the attendees was eventually triggered by Gubbins’ core question: “What barriers will VoD face over the next few years?”
"The press is still reluctant to cover the VoD phenomenon," said Laurin Dietrich, of WOLF Consultants, a boutique PR and marketing consulting firm specialising in independent cinema. "The channels may be different, but people are the same. Back during my university days, I used to discuss with my friends about a film I found interesting; today, I Tweet about it. It's up to us to influence our audience, and we can be even more effective than the press." Nicola Allieta, VoD manager at Under The Milky Way, an international network made up of film-industry professionals bringing together their experiences in production, distribution and marketing, also agreed with his German colleague.
Toles concluded the event with a stimulating reflection on piracy: "Even in this day and age, piracy is still unstoppable. It tells us that our user is not getting what he wants, so we should think carefully about how to deliver our content. Only if we connect people who value content with a place where they can find it will we be able to disrupt the old technology."